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Lady Lions Struggle In Second Half Against No. 14 Rutgers

Penn State women’s basketball (10-10, 3-6 Big Ten) fell short to No. 14 Rutgers (16-4, 8-1 Big Ten) 69-61 on Sunday afternoon in the Bryce Jordan Center.

The Lady Lions played extremely strong defensively throughout the first half, but failed to keep up with a talented Rutgers offense in the second half. Despite double digit scoring from guards Teniya Page (18) and Amari Carter (14), Penn State shot an ugly 16-52 from the field and struggled to sustain much of any offense.

How It Happened

Despite an early 7-0 scoring run from Rutgers to open the game, Penn State quickly battled back and held a 13-9 lead after one quarter of play.

Penn State continued to play strong defense in the second quarter, as it had forced eight Rutgers turnovers just three minutes into the second period of play.

Lauren Ebo was a presence in the paint for the Lady Lions, grabbing a team-high nine rebounds in the first half. Ebo’s rebounding helped to give Penn State plenty of second chance scoring opportunities throughout the game.

Despite a gritty effort from Penn State in the first half, Rutgers held a 25-24 lead at halftime. The Scarlet Knights were led by forward Stasha Carey, who had eleven points and 6 rebounds in the first half, both team highs.

Penn State’s offense came to a screeching halt in the third quarter while Rutgers came alive. The Lady Lions’ first field goal of the half didn’t come until there was about 2:30 remaining in the third quarter on a three from Amari Carter. Teniya Page and and Alisia Smith had six points worth of free throws throughout the quarter, which kept the Lady Lions within single digits of the Scarlet Knights.

Penn State’s defense also came out flat, as Rutgers had its most productive quarter of the game with 22 points, holding a 47-39 lead heading into the final 10 minutes of play.

The Lady Lions battled back quickly to start the fourth quarter. Amari Carter hit a pair of threes within the first few minutes and converted a big time shot inside while Teniya Page continued to work her way to the free throw line.

Despite the quick scoring run from Penn State, a couple of empty possessions from the Lady Lions and more easy looks inside for the Scarlet Knights gave Rutgers a 62-53 lead with 2:57 remaining in the game. The Scarlet Knights eased into victory down the stretch, 69-61

Takeaways

  • Teniya Page’s free throw shooting kept the Lady Lions in this game down the stretch. The senior guard had a team high 18 points, 11 coming at the line. Page consistently drove to the basket and converted on her free throws when given the opportunity, shooting 11-12.
  • Shots just didn’t fall for Penn State. The Lady Lions shot 16-52 from the field and missed plenty of open looks. It’s easy to see that this would’ve been a much closer game, possibly a Penn State win, if the Lady Lions got some of those looks to fall.
  • It was a tale of two halves defensively for the Lady Lions. They played stout defense throughout the first half, forcing plenty of turnovers early, and despite a tough shooting performance were only down one at halftime. Penn State’s defense was lacking in the second half, though, allowing many more inside looks for Rutgers. Suddenly the Lady Lions’ low field goal percentage became much more apparent when Rutgers started to pull ahead.

What’s Next

The Lady Lions travel to East Lansing to take on No. 23 Michigan State. The game will be played at 7 p.m. on Thursday, January 31 at the Breslin Center.

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a freshman majoring in journalism. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email [email protected]

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